Odds are, you’ve heard about the benefits of turmeric for both people and pets. And while turmeric would likely benefit dogs of any age, its benefits are particularly pronounced for senior pets.
Turmeric (or Indian saffron) is the spice that gives curry it’s yellow color. Veterinary approved supplements for dogs often contain Curcumin – the active ingredient in Turmeric – because it acts as a natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Researchers and nutritionists are singing its praises as a medicinally effective herb for the mind and body of both people and pets.
There is evidence that the Curcumin in Turmeric can provide the following 7 health benefits:
1. Fights Aging by Reducing & Preventing Chronic Inflammation
Short-term inflammation actually plays a role in keeping the body healthy by fighting off foreign pathogens. Long-term inflammation, on the other hand, is associated with almost every major disease including heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, dementia and various degenerative conditions. One study showed that the power of Curcumin in reducing inflammation may even match that of many anti-inflammatory drugs – without the side effects.
In particular, dogs suffering from joint inflammation or arthritis may see great benefits from turmeric.
2. May Reduce Chronic Pain
Pain is caused by inflammation, so once again Curcumin’s natural anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce pain and damage caused by arthritis, degenerative disc disease, and other injuries. Several studies on humans have suggested that turmeric may be equal in effectiveness to ibuprofen, but with less side effects (note: dogs should NEVER be given ibuprofen).
3. Promotes Cardiovascular Health
It’s believed that Curcumin acts as a blood thinner that reduces the risk of blood clots and helps rid the body of excess cholesterol. It also improves the function of the endothelium (the lining of the blood vessels) which aids in blood clotting and regulating blood pressure.
4. Aids in Digestion
In order for healthy digestion to take place the liver must produce bile to break down fat. If this system is impaired, liver, gallbladder and intestinal issues can arise. Curcumin has been proven to stimulate bile production. Underweight, extremely active and pregnant/nursing dogs all require more fat in their diets, so Turmeric can be especially beneficial for them.
5. Shows Promise with Cancer Patients
Several studies conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) have shown promising results in using Curcumin with cancer patients. The herb seems to affect cancer growth as well as development and spread at the molecular level. It has also been shown to inhibit the growth of blood vessels within tumors and contribute to the death of cancer cells.
6. Promotes Healthy Brain Activity in Aging Dogs
The rates of Neuro-degenerative diseases in India – where Turmeric is consumed regularly – are considered very low in comparison to western nations. This may be due, at least in part, to Curcumin, which crosses the blood-brain barrier to reduce inflammation and oxidative damage. A study by NCBI also showed it to be beneficial in clearing Amyloid plaques in the brain associated with dementia.
7. Promotes Healthy Joints in Senior Dogs
As many senior dog owners know, joint pain and mobility is one of the most common signs of aging. Many owners first notice their dog is slower to get up from sleeping or not greeting them at the door anymore when they come home. Because turmeric and curcumin fights pain and inflammation, it’s is one of the most popular go-to supplements for senior dogs.
How to Give Turmeric to Your Dog
While some owners simply add ground turmeric to their dog’s dish, there are a few possible problems with this method.
First, many dogs do not like the taste of turmeric and it must be disguised.
Second, and more importantly, turmeric is poorly absorbed by the body, and two additional components have been found to help the absorption: the addition of a healthy fat and black pepper extract.
Since nearly all senior dogs are already given a joint care supplement such as glucosamine, for simplicity many owners find a formula that also contains turmeric, a healthy fat, and black pepper.
If supplementation with turmeric makes sense for your dog, you might consider trying the Project Paws™ Advanced Joint Care Supplement with Turmeric. In addition to Turmeric, it contains 7 other active ingredients that support healthy joints and help improve mobility. And like any product sold from iHeartDogs.com, each purchase supports animal shelters.
As always, before starting any new medication or supplement you should consult your veterinarian. Turmeric is quite safe in healthy dogs, but may have restrictions for those with certain conditions like kidney stones or diabetes.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional.